In case you don’t know, Leo Martin Insurance recently teamed up with Gore Mutual Insurance to offer customized realtor liability insurance options for real estate agents across Canada. Since we launched the program in June 2017, real estate professionals across the province have reached out to us with questions. We thought we’d dedicate this month’s blog post to address some of the main questions we’ve received.
My brokerage has liability insurance. Why do I need it too?
Actually, most real estate brokerage owners stipulate that their realtors obtain liability insurance. Many brokers include this as a requirement in their initial contract when on-boarding an agent but few follow up to ensure this step has been taken by the realtors working under their banner. In some instances, the agent’s failure to protect himself/herself adequately only comes to the brokerage owner’s knowledge after a serious event that leaves their agent and/or brokerage in a precarious and liable position.
I already have insurance through RECO. What makes realtor liability insurance any different?
True—all real estate agents in Ontario must participate in RECO’s insurance program. But that insurance only covers errors and omissions insurance, consumer deposit insurance, and commission protection insurance. It covers the paperwork associated with real estate transactions.
But—this is where the gap in coverage becomes obvious—the RECO insurance program does not cover physical property or protect against any tangible damages. That is what liability insurance is for. Although it is legally considered optional insurance coverage, it really is an essential for all realtors to prevent professional and financial catastrophe.
What is the cost of realtor liability insurance?
The short answer is that realtor liability insurance is quite affordable. Drop us a line and we’ll be happy to give you an exact quote based on your needs.
But the real question we think you should ask is: What’s the cost of NOT having realtor liability insurance?
Whether you’re a real estate agent or a brokerage owner, don’t underestimate the importance of realtor liability insurance. Every real estate salesperson is at risk for a liability case—unfounded or not—, so make sure you are covered. Should a case every be brought against you, hiring an attorney and covering court costs could be financially crippling and stressful. And if the opposite party should win the case, you’ll be on the hook for the cost of all damages. Can you imagine? The good news is realtor liability insurance will eliminate the chance of you facing this possibility.
No one expects to file a liability claim. But the entire purpose of insurance is to protect from an unexpected crisis. And it’s well worth the cost: once an agent is sued, coverage can’t be bought at any price.
What can happen if a realtor does not have realtor liability insurance?
We urge you to consider what could happen to one of your realtors who hasn’t gotten proper realtor liability insurance.
Here are some realistic scenarios:
- An agent associated with your brokerage is showing a home when an older gentleman slips and falls down the stairs, breaking a hip. The man needs surgery and develops further complications in hospital. His family decides to sue the homeowners and your agent. Whether or not they have a valid case doesn’t matter in this instance. Without liability insurance, your agent and/or brokerage would need to come up with money to cover legal costs.
- Your agent reverses his car through a client’s garage door. Although he offers to cover the damages out-of-pocket, the client insists that the resulting property damages are outlandishly expensive. Your agent and your brokerage are named in the lawsuit. The client take the matter to court and actually wins, leaving your agent with an enormous bill.
- One of your agents shows a house in the wintertime and upon leaving, does not close the door completely. The door flies open, letting in the cold air and as a result, the water pipes freeze and burst causing much damage to the home. Your agent is held liable for all damages.
I own a brokerage. Why should I consider buying a package for my agents?
- Peace of mind knowing that all your realtors are covered.
- It can be part of your realtor attraction and retention program- a good perk to attract and retain realtors. (Or give the perk as an incentive for top performers.)
- Saving time by not having to keep track of who is covered.
- Save money by bundling all agents’ policies together into a package.
Find out more about our cost-effective realtor liability program here. Or call us at 1-844-807-1506 with any questions.